My company maintains over 4000 military homes on a prominanate installation and many others on other installations.
Recently some housing inspectors that have no electrical training have decided that if an occupant wiggles their electrical plug when they are extracting it from an outlet and breaks the tiny piece of plastic that is immediately adjacent to the grounding slot on the outlet that the outlet must be replaced. The damage is extremely minor and is not normally even noticed unless one examines it closely. I'm hoping that many of you have seen just how small this damage is and can help me as I struggle with this issue. The NEC Code that probably applies is:
NEC 110.12 (C), page 70-34, which states the following:
"Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connection. Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues. There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operations or mechanical strength of the equipment such s parts that are broken; bent; cut; or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action, or overheating."
As it pertains to the first sentence, this damage is not internal, and as it pertains to the last sentence it does not adversely effect safe operations or mechanical strength. In that it poses no safety hazard I submit that the replacement of these outlets, often new ones, is unnessary and the money spent for this could be better spent on other safety issues. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I agree there is no real danger. I might even find one like that in my house. I can see how this could become a "sore spot" for you if your company has a maintenance agreement and is charging a flat out yearly price to handle such minor things. On the other hand if you are able to charge for them why not wait until you have a days worth of work at any one particular base and go to it ?
One upside to this is that there is a system of sorts to replace receptacles. You may not see other issues that may exist hidden in the device or related to the circuit connections. For example loose connections or poor tension. I would also expect the newer receptacles to be a bit less susceptable to the damage you are referring to. Do you perform any kind of test on the finished replacement?